Archive | April, 2018

East Coast Builders Conference Opens Registration

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East Coast Builders Conference Opens Registration

Posted on 23 April 2018 by CRadmin3

The East Coast Builders Conference (ECBC), slated to take place at the Music City Center in Nashville June 14-15, 2018, is open for registration.

The 3rd annual ECBC Show will feature:

  • Largest conference program on the East Coast
  • National Accredited Courses
  • 200 Manufacturers & Services
  • 300 Booths
  • Keynote Speaker Edsel Charles, Founder & Chairman-MetroGraphics Research, Inc.
  • Free Land & Capital Forum; How To Do Business With Private Capital
  • VIP Meet The Builder Program

The building industry is seeing exponential growth in residential construction. Just in the past two years, the industry has seen more than a 20 percent increase in the residential housing market. ECBC gives builders the ideal opportunity stay educated on the latest product innovations and education.

The show is also offering attendees a free expo-only pass. Use promo code ECBC2018 at ECBCShow.com to register and receive the free pass.

You may also be interested in this article about a complimentary show floor pass to IWF.

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Laser Products Forms New Company: Precision Measuring & Training

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Laser Products Forms New Company: Precision Measuring & Training

Posted on 20 April 2018 by CRadmin3

Laser Products Industries (LPI) announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Precision Templates of Colorado and has formed a new separate company, Precision Measuring and Training (PMT), headquartered in Denver, Colo.

PMT will initially serve the Denver market and will offer digital laser templating, CAD work, training, and tool measuring to fabricators primarily in the stone, millwork, and glass industries. The new company has offered positions to all former Precision Templates of Colorado employees to take advantage their 60 years of combined templating experience.

“PMT was formed to provide a unique set of services for the issues that today’s fabricators are facing.” said Rich Katzmann, president, Laser Products.  “We measure, do layouts, translate files to CAD drawings, schedule jobs, and handle customer paperwork. We only hire highly skilled professionals and put them through rigorous certification to guarantee error-free, on-time, cost-saving work.”

“When Rich and I first talked, I saw the immediate benefit of the PMT business model for fabricators,” said Marc Sleight, vice president, PMT. “The Laser Products system is the only solution we trust that allows us to achieve our promise of accuracy and process customization.  There’s no more down time, no expensive investments, and no more impossible scheduling problems.  PMT is fully flexible and can customize our services to the fabricator’s specific needs regardless of type of job, material, location, or process.  PMT employees are better trained, better with customers, and go where you want, when you want, based on your schedule. It’s a perfect solution.”

Currently only in the Denver market, PMT will be expanding to other cities this year, aggressively growing to national status in just a few years.

You may also be interested in this article about Architectural Surfaces Group’s acquisition of Bedrock International.

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IWF Offers Complimentary Show Floor Pass

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IWF Offers Complimentary Show Floor Pass

Posted on 19 April 2018 by CRadmin3

The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) will be held August 22-25, 2018 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. With the continued growth of the show, organizers project this years’ fair will be one of the top woodworking trade shows in the world for the furniture manufacturing, architectural woodwork, custom and general woodworking industries.

More than 900 exhibitors from the woodworking industry will be at IWF to present their products and services. Suppliers and manufacturers specializing in wood veneers, woodworking machinery, material processing tools, laminates, adhesives, decorative hardware, flooring and more will be in attendance to display their product and service offerings.

And IWF is offering a free show floor pass! Use promo code IWF18OR when registering.

IWF also offers professionals education opportunities on a broad spectrum of industry related topics throughout the duration of the show.

In addition, the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) will be holding its full-day Countertops Symposium on Aug. 21, the day before the show opens.

You may also be interested in this article about Coverings ’18.

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Wilsonart Releases New Quartz and Solid Surface Designs

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Wilsonart Releases New Quartz and Solid Surface Designs

Posted on 18 April 2018 by CRadmin3

Wilsonart, a manufacturer of engineered surfaces, introduced new Quartz and Solid Surface designs that blend nature’s beauty and look stunning in both home and commercial settings.

The new hard surface designs tap into the color trends of warm and cool whites, greys and neutrals but also takes advantage of the resurgence of classic black stone. Several of the new Quartz “inspired-by-nature” veining patterns were created through robotic technology. The 2018 Quartz and Solid Surface designs celebrate natural materials through the following 10 new Quartz and seven new Solid Surface introductions:

Quartz

Marble Falls – a warm white and grey mottled background with soft, linear veining down the length of the slab.

Rain Shadow – incorporates a cool grey mottled background with soft white veining throughout the slab.

North Cascades – a warm grey, natural branching vein structure that travels through a mottled grey and white background.

Coastal – features a mix of warm and cool greys creating a complex canvas backdrop for the dark grey branching veins.

SoHo – a medium soft grey concrete look.

Salar – features a bright white background with small clusters of charcoal and deep warm grey veining that naturally fades in and out across the slab. This pattern has both a classic and modern feel.

Ascent – a large-scale, chunky marble look that mixes white, charcoal and deep warm greys to encapsulate the elegance of warm white and grey veining.

Dinant – a complex black and grey background with white veining throughout the slab.

Desert Wind – a neutral, warm color palette with deep veins and subtle, pale taupe resin pools to create a subtle movement in the design.

Haldi – a semi-translucent deep grey pattern with warm gold veining.

Wilsonart Quartz meets industry standards including UL GREENGUARD Gold for indoor air quality, NSF International and Kosher compliances for safe surfaces for food preparation.

Solid Surface

Titanium Grey – a mid-value solid grey.

Angel Falls – a linear movement design that uses warm and cool neutral tones and clear chips to create a soft structure that looks similar to travertine.

Grey Lace – uses light and dark shades of grey in a linear design woven with small, clear particulate to give it a natural stone feel.

Saharan Night – a warm, dark brown and black design set in a linear structure resembling that of a modern woodgrain.

Silver Smoke – a soft, flowing large-scale linear movement design with a misty background full of flecks of white.

Hidden Space – a small scale particulate design in a deep, inky blue with bright specks and warm grey mists that replicate the deep cosmos.

Chilled Earth – a small-scale quartz look that combines warm and cool translucent particulates on a neutral white background.

Seamless, non-porous, Wilsonart® Solid Surface is renewable, repairable and versatile. The material is resistant to fade, heat, mold, mildew and most stains making it ideal for many settings. Backed by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, Wilsonart Solid Surface holds UL GREENGUARD Gold Certification for low-chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage and is NSF compliance for food preparation.

You may also be interested in this article about new colors of Radianz Quartz.

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clé Introduces New Belgian Reproduction Tile Shapes

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clé Introduces New Belgian Reproduction Tile Shapes

Posted on 16 April 2018 by CRadmin3

clé introduced Belgian Reproduction tile in three new shapes: rectangle, losange diamond, and circle. The Flemish black tiles now consist of seven shapes in square, hex, rectangle, losange diamond, circle, star and cross.

The Belgian Reproduction tiles are hand crafted by artisans who are working in the traditional method of wood-fired terracotta production. The blackened clay lends the chalky surfaces the elegant patina of age. By combining the unglazed tiles with contrasting shapes and grout, a dramatically patterned surface is created. The versatile tiles can be installed indoors and out, on floors and walls. The tiles are sized from 2 in. by 8 in. rectangles to 8 in. squares, hex, and circles. The Belgian Reproduction collection is available exclusively on clé.

“We’ve long admired the grand courtyards of northern Europe, the gray patina and refined rusticity of Belgian design and have been on a quest to find a tile that would echo these elements. We discovered this exquisite blackened clay, and took a restored form of terracotta to create these Belgian Reproduction tiles, which are perfect for grounding projects with an austerity as striking as an antique Belgian surface.” said Sarah Lonsdale, Creative Director of clé

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Business Sense: Firing a Customer

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Business Sense: Firing a Customer

Posted on 12 April 2018 by CRadmin2

By Harry Hollander of Moraware

After more than a decade in business, and after working with over a thousand countertop fabricators, we did something new. We fired a customer.

I’m writing about it because it wasn’t easy, and I didn’t really see this one coming.

Dealing With Frustrated Customers

As a team, we’ve had conversations about firing a tiny handful of other customers. In each one of those cases, it was because they were rude or abusive. But, so far, we haven’t done it. There was always a root-cause to the problem that went far beyond us.

As customer-service folks, we need to keep reminding ourselves that each one of our customers is a human, and they’ve got lives outside of their calls and emails with us. We don’t know what’s happening in their day… it might be that they’re really sick, a bunch of slabs got broken in their granite shop or that they’re getting married tomorrow.

Most of the time when customers are rude to us, it’s because they’re frustrated. Nobody wants to fail at using software; they certainly don’t want to call a software company and admit it. So… that’s the situation I feel like we’re pretty prepared for. Our solution is to be helpful, optimistic, and empathetic.

As the owner of a company, or anyone who interacts with customers, I’d suggest reading Sarah Hatter’s book, The Customer Support Handbook – there are some great tips about both your mindset and language when you’re dealing with your customers.

I also really like a trick I learned from Derek Sivers: “Imagine every one of your customers is Mick Jagger“. How would you treat your customers differently if they were all rock-stars?

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

You might have heard the maxim “hire slow, fire fast” with respect to your own employees – you need to evaluate them carefully, but if they’re not working out as part of the team, you need to let them go. If you have folks who’re not performing their jobs to the level that’s necessary, they can create a toxic work environment.

But the same thing is true with your customers.

This is especially a big deal for us. Most of our customers think they’re buying software, but as a  “software as a service” (SaaS) business, they’re actually getting a really long relationship.

So, when it’s clear that a company is trying to use our software far outside of our core, that puts a strain on the relationship. Sometimes, that strain is okay, and it ends up making our business better – every feature request that we implement is a reaction to that strain.

But, occasionally, that mismatch between what the customer is trying to do is really far from what we do well. We always try to be upfront about that kind of thing, before the sale when we see it coming: “No, JobTracker won’t help you schedule your custom boat-building projects.” and “No, CounterGo can’t become your CAD system.

That’s a big part of the reason we schedule a demo with every new prospect. We’re experts at using our software, and we want to make sure we can add value.

Sometimes, we miss the hints that we’re in left-field. Most of the time, our customers realize it before we do. And, they cancel. It sucks, but that’s the reason we have a generous money-back policy. 90 days is enough time for anyone who’s digging in to figure out if our software is a good fit.

When Communication Breaks Down

But this time was different. We were clearly not adding value, but we couldn’t communicate it effectively to them.

Multiple times, everyone on our support team tried to convey the problem. There were fundamental mismatches between our software and this countertop shop. “If you don’t use the jobs in JobTracker, you can’t use any other feature“, and “CounterGo is primarily a sales tool, and you’re not using it for sales.

A big part of this communication problem is our own fault. We saw many of these warning signs before they bought. But, we’re an optimistic bunch, and we ignored the potential problems.

In most cases in the past, that’s been okay. We end up pouring an outsize amount of support effort toward that customer. And, after a month or two, they get it. Or they cancel. We’re willing to take the risk, because most of the time we can get them over the hump.

But this customer wasn’t getting it. I think there are a couple of reasons for this, but I’m largely speculating.

  1. They were experiencing major growth, which was altering their business.
  2. Nobody there had uninterrupted time to implement software.
  3. Because they were already at capacity, communicating with us was on the back-burner.
  4. They hadn’t used (free!) software like excel or outlook to try to solve their problems.

Again, we knew all of that going into the relationship, and we should have been more careful.

So Why Am I Telling You This?

Although some other software companies have an explicit mission to be “open” or “transparent“, that’s never been a guiding principal for Moraware. In general, it’s a decent idea, but it’s not really central to our personality as people, or as a company.

But, this was a really hard decision – hard in the sense of unpleasant and emotionally complicated. I need to get some of it out in the open.

First, I want to apologize again to this customer. We should have never taken your money originally. Plus, we can never give you back the time you spent trying to use our software. We’ll try to be more diligent with other prospects.

I also want to apologize to the Moraware team. Even though I had misgivings from the beginning, I should have pushed on this harder. I can’t give you back the countless hours you spent, either.

One thing I’m going to do differently as a leader is help our team practice for this kind of situation better. We’ve always talked about our philosophy of Always BLeaving during our sales process. But, when folks wave their credit cards at us, it is easy to forget that it’s our job to say “No” when it’s appropriate.

This was a tricky situation, but I still feel like we did the right thing. Hopefully, by writing it down some of our thinking on this helps you in your own business, too.

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David Unger Named 2017 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year

Posted on 10 April 2018 by Sydne Unnerstall

David Unger, plant manager at Dee Brown, Inc. in Garland, Texas has been named 2017 Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year by the Natural Stone Institute.

David Unger (center) with 2017 BSI President Daniel Wood and 2018 MIA President Jon Lancto.

Unger’s first experience with stone occurred more than fifty years ago, when he helped his father face a fireplace. A successful apprenticeship as a bricklayer led to restoration work and fireplaces made from fieldstones. In 1999, Unger joined Dee Brown, Inc. as a foreman. He was quickly recruited for the fabrication plant, where he was at times the only person in the plant. As the company grew, he became the person who trained new hires. Unger and his team have produced stone for some of the finest residences in Dallas and provided backup support for such notable projects as Cowboy Stadium and the American Airlines Arena. Unger attributes his own success to the good crew in the plant.

You may also be interested in this article Amy Miller Named Executive Director of ISFA.

 

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Ege Seramik Introduces New Tile Collections

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Ege Seramik Introduces New Tile Collections

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Sydne Unnerstall

Ege Seramik introduced new small brick-sized glazed porcelain tile collections that recreate the look and feel of hand-made bricks.

The Lisbon and the London collections are available in one standard 2.4 in. x 10 in. size and feature the colors Lisbon (grey, beige, mix) and London (cotton, anthracite, mix). The Lisbon collection offers twenty-five different faces and London offers twenty faces.

Ege seramik’s new Ethnic collection aims to add more flair to this vintage look by mixing it with classic decorative pieces. Available in one standard size format, 4 in. x 8 in., field tiles have 15 different faces and there are nine different deco designs that come mixed in the same box. The collection is available in grey, beige and brown with the deco pieces only available in one style for all three colors.

You may also be interested in this article Caesarstone Unviels Three New Colors.

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Coverings Returns to Atlanta May 8-11

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Coverings Returns to Atlanta May 8-11

Posted on 06 April 2018 by CRadmin3

Coverings (coverings.com), the largest international tile & stone show in North America, is returning to Atlanta, Georgia from May 8 – 11. Coverings provides a stage for the most innovative tile & stone products from around the world and delivers critical information about the industry’s latest trends through the show’s annual CEU-accredited conference program—all free of charge. Attendees can now register and reserve housing.

Taking place in Atlanta for the first time in five years, the 2018 show will feature 1,100 exhibitors representing more than 40 countries and take more than 450,000 square feet of exhibition space at the Georgia World Congress Center. Programming for Coverings 2018 will offer sessions for every category of tile and stone professionals, offering a wide variety of CEUs for attendees. Along with a increased focus on delivering impactful networking opportunities, the 2018 show will feature the latest in products, innovations, and live demonstrations.

“Coverings aims to not only highlight the inherent value of tile & stone materials—their adaptability, durability, low environmental impact and beauty—but also foster connections between industry professionals, in order to grow businesses and build lasting professional relationships,” said Alena Capra, Coverings Industry Ambassador. “We’re thrilled to make our return to Atlanta in May and to engage with the vibrant community of industry professionals that comprise this market.”

To offer show attendees more time on the floor and provide an opportunity for those wanting to stop by the show later in the work day, Coverings 2018 will offer extended hours for the opening day of the show, Tuesday, May 8. With the exhibit hall open until 6:30 p.m., a networking event – “Around the World of Tile & Stone” – will provide happy hour specials and entertainment coupled with additional time to meet fellow attendees or exhibitors and expand professional connections. Furthermore, attendees can take advantage of added networking functionalities within the Coverings app and an onsite Meet @ Coverings area with dedicated meeting space.

The 2018 show will also introduce a new “Tile Installation Experience” comprised of live, interactive content showcasing best practices for tile installations through demonstrations and conversations with qualified, trained, and certified tile installers. Designed to provide added opportunities for exploration and hands-on learning, this experiential programming will engage attendees from all professional trade segments and deliver a holistic view of the tile industry’s standards and practices.

Other new features at Coverings 2018 include the Coverings Orientation Theatre, where attendees can learn answers to frequently asked questions and gain useful tips for making the most of their show experience. Attendees are also encouraged to become part of Coverings’ history at the Tile Heritage Foundation’s Donor Wall for Posterity. With a $25 donation, visitors can press their names, hands, thoughts or logos into a wet clay tile to become part of the mural, which will be installed at TCNA Headquarters in Anderson, SC.

Conference programming at the show will include more than 50 sessions, with a wide range of distinguished speakers scheduled to share their knowledge and industry insights on key topics for the tile and stone industry. Content is tailored to each attendee segment, with programming available for architects, builders/remodelers, designers, distributors, fabricators, installers, retailers, and Spanish-speaking attendees. With CEU credits available, these sessions continue to bring invaluable free education to the show.

To learn more about Coverings 2018 and ongoing opportunities to participate, visit coverings.com.

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Artisan Group Welcomes New Members

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Artisan Group Welcomes New Members

Posted on 05 April 2018 by Sydne Unnerstall

Artisan Group has welcomed new members Summit Stone Works in Buda, Texas and True Blue in San Antonio and Austin, in addition to welcoming back previous member Lakeside Surfaces Inc, based in Western Michigan. The group offers their own brands of premium countertops including: Metro Quartz, Artisan Stone Collection granite and marble, Saratoga Soapstone and Heritage Wood.

Summit Stoneworks was formed in 2006 by two entrepreneur brothers building high-end custom homes in the Austin area, and is now owned by Sam Roberts and Brandon Self. With the acquisition of Designer Showroom and Summit’s rapid growth, it has 60 employees and 13 installation crews that serve the builder, commercial and residential sectors.

True Blue has been in business in San Antonio since 2007 and Austin since September 2017. Principals Tom Callahan and Eric Cole are focused on the business to business market with their customer base being predominantly designers and builders.

Established in 1992, Lakeside Surfaces Inc. is one of the largest fabricators of surfacing products in the Midwest. The company was founded by current President, Rob Riegler, who began as a certified Corian fabricator. By listening carefully to customers and business partners, Lakeside has been able to steadily increase service area and fabrication capabilities as the surfacing market has evolved.

You may also be interested in this article Federal Brace Debuts New Warehouse.

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